The rumor that Oracle Corp is about to enter the Linux distribution business will not go away, with investment bank Jefferies and Co the latest to throw fuel on to the fire with the suggestion that Oracle could announce its strategy before the end of the month.
Redwood Shores, California-based Oracle has been strongly linked with a move into the Linux distribution business since its chairman and chief executive, Larry Ellison, discussed the possibility with the Financial Times in April.
I’d like to have a complete stack, Ellison said at the time. We’re missing an operating system. You could argue that it makes a lot of sense for us to look at distributing and supporting Linux.
The company has not made a move in that space yet, but Jefferies analyst, Katherine Egbert, stated in a research note last week that it could be only a matter of time. We have heard that Ubuntu is currently working to certify its recently introduced server OS to all Oracle’s major products, including databases and middleware, she wrote.
The relationship between Oracle and Ubuntu seems to have come together rather quickly, and is perhaps the fallout from an attempt by Red Hat and Oracle to work more closely together.
Egbert said she thinks Oracle could introduce a dedicated hardware appliance running Ubuntu and its own software, which would see the company returning Larry Ellison’s Raw Iron idea, or a software appliance, much like Ingres Corp’s Icebreaker project.
According to Egbert, the most likely opportunity to announce this project will be the October 22-26 OpenWorld customer event, and its October 26 investor day.
Egbert’s prediction was made as Jefferies lowered its share price target for the number one Linux distributor Red Hat Inc from $24 to $21, citing competitive pressure from Oracle. Despite Jefferies cautioning against a knee jerk reaction Red Hat’s share price dipped over 6% from $21 to $19.71.
It remains to be seen whether Oracle will enter the Linux distribution business, but the Ubuntu link could simply be explained by the Debian-based distributions increase in popularity, and Oracle already provides support for specific Linux-based configurations via its Validated Configurations.
The configurations are available with Linux distributions from Red Hat and Novell Inc. Adding Ubuntu to the list would make some sense given its rise in popularity and the relative lack/immaturity of enterprise Ubuntu support offerings.